Today the role of the Hotel General Manager (GM) is often all-encompassing. He or she holds the ultimate responsibility for oversight of a property, including all sales and marketing, operations, events, maintenance, and customer service. As the era of digital transformation and an intensifying focus on guest personalization continues, the general manager role will evolve as well.
To be successful in these changing times, exhibiting certain traits will enable you to be the future Hotel General Manager your guests need.
- Inspirational – As with any great leader, it’s imperative that a General Manager do more than just manage. The GM needs to be someone that people want to follow and work their hardest for. An inspirational leader will bring out the best characteristics in his or her team. Having a happy and pleasant team is even more crucial in hospitality than in other sectors, and driving that enthusiasm, passion, and hustle comes from the top.
- Decisive – No matter the size of the property, a General Manager has to make decisions on the fly for all kinds of situations and with a calm exterior. The GM owns responsibility for the successes and failures of a property, and while he or she should positively empower the management team to make their own decisions, there will always be situations requiring special attention. Whether it’s working with the teams to help them make the best decisions for guests quickly or calling the shots herself, no GM is going to succeed if she can’t think on her feet in this fast-paced and constantly accelerating environment.
- Analytical – There are a lot of reports and financials to be considered in the hotel industry and that’s only likely to continue to grow exponentially as data is available and can be aggregated across various systems. A GM needs to work with the team to quickly review, understand, and action on data he sees on a daily basis. There is a constant pivot to make rates and packages appealing to the right guest or planner at the right time, not just based on local competition, but on a hotel’s unique offering. Seeing not just numbers, but patterns and trends will become even more necessary to be successful in this role.
- Creative – While we often hear that people tend to be either analytical or creative, the future GM needs to be both. Budgets aren’t growing, but the expectation of the guest is. A GM needs to be able to digest the data with an analytical mindset and then shift to a creative mindset to problem solve in unique ways. Not only that, creativity from leadership is the only way to truly create a novel experience at a property that both guests and planners will seek out and pay a premium for.
- Adaptive – Despite the other traits, if a General Manager is hard-headed and stuck in her ways, she won’t be successful. There is too much change in the hotel industry and really all around us at all times when it comes to technology and expectations to not be open to change. We never know when the next big OTA will pop up and affect our bottom line or when the next social media channel will change how we advertise and communicate. A General Manager needs to be bold and willing to try new things while being smart enough to change course if those trials aren’t performing well. Having a plan is important, but sticking to the plan isn’t paramount to success. Being open-minded will serve the future GM well.
- Visionary – A General Manager sets the goals and strategy for a hotel. In order to set his property apart, the GM needs to constantly evaluate the competition, market, region, and audience. Beyond that, he needs to look to the future and envision how the property will be perceived and operate in 5 to 10 years and then determine what will be needed to achieve that vision. An excellent General Manager needs to keep a pulse on not just the hotel industry, but also the technology industry and how guests are buying and communicating outside of their travels and group business. To truly achieve success in the future, the GM will need the visionary trait, always thinking to the future for planning, budgeting, and improving the overall experience of a property – understanding what a guest wants before the guest even knows.
To help the future Hotel General Manager, we’ve created a series of Hospitality Recovery guides to provide strategies and tips for successful recovery and reopenings across 4 key functional areas – Marketing, Sales, Revenue Management, and Operations.
In conjunction with our industry partners at Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), Institute of Hospitality (IoH), and the Hospitality Professionals Association (HOSPA), we interviewed global industry stakeholders, conducted market surveys, and pulled from our expertise to provide actionable advice that we hope will help any property best prepare for reopening and recovery.